Pacific Northwest Transit Adventures

Riding Sounder All the Way Down to Lakewood!

This post is part four of Spring Skiing Spring Break

I buy my Mariners ticket and walk back up to King Street Station(8 Photos) and walk over the overpass to the Sounder island platform that is separate from the regular station. I board the second Tacoma-bound train (this becomes the second reverse peak direction train and becomes the last Lakewood-bound train of the PM rush hour) of the rush hour about 20 minutes early to relax and recharge my electronic devices at an outlet. We leave on time at 3:41 passing the main Amtrak yard, I see the conductor walking the train. He has a hat that just says Conductor with an Amtrak lanyard. I believe he’s an employee of BNSF but Amtrak’s Seattle yard maintains the trains. We head south running at the same speed as some double-stacks. We soon wrong-rail because of the station refurbishment project.


We stop in Tukwila(1 Photo) at 3:59, construction has begun constructing a combined Amtrak/Souder facility, only one platform is currently in service, requiring trains to single-track when stopping in the station, were wrong-railing, stopping on the left-hand track.

We stop in Kent at 4:08, wrong-railing.

The announce that for Auburn(33 Photos) we will be getting off the right side and I do at 4:15. I have to since the maximum fare per ride is $4 and this is stop is $3.75 with the next one $4.25. The overpass in the station is closed for a week so everyones stuck using the grade crossing at the northern end of the platform. There are plenty of people are waiting for the reverse peak trains as well. It is a Friday evening.


The next train comes in at 4:38. I decide I might has well spend a layover at Tacoma Dome(25 Photos today), getting off at 5:04 because I want more photos and photos of a train leaving the station going the new direction. I get off and the first Lakewood-bound train of the PM Rush Hour leaves.


At 5:28 I get on the second Lakewood-bound train and I slowly enter new trackage, going two grade crossings before rising up into an embankment with overpasses above streets. This line was clearly not all that easy to engineer. We’re slowly climbing. We then pass some industry with freight sidings, this was a branch line that needed to be connected with Tacoma dome. I see houses and more industry as we get the announcement for South Tacoma(53 Photos). I get off at this new station at 5:36.


6:00 – Leave South Tacoma on a 7 car train. We pass CP Manitou and used car dealers.

6:04 – We pass a siding with the two other sets in storage, it’s unfortunately a ways north of the station and not accessible to photograph.

The train pulls into Lakewood(28 Photos) at 6:06, its a parking garage and transit center station.


I do my photo essay and head over to my bus for Route 594, bound for Seattle. It leaves on time at 6:22, a coach with me as the only passenger. We stop at an older park and ride stop and the bus becomes more crowded. I’m amazed that everyone’s paying with cash, few with ORCA. We even stop for another passenger before we pull out, and get on I-5. Soon I realize were getting on I-705 which is a short riverfront spur down the waterfront, in an opposite direction from Seattle. The bus gets off the freeway and loops into downtown, along the Tacoma LINK Streetcar. I decide I might as well take a streetcar ride and one soon comes to get me at the infill Commerce Street station. I take it to South 25th(8 Photos) and see a neat art installation on an underpass built beneath the new Lakewood Sounder extension, of “Love Locks”.


I then look at the Sounder schedule and realize I can get the final Lakewood-bound train of the PM rush hour from a better grade crossing farther away from Freighthouse Square leaving Tacoma Dome(25 Photos today). The train has one of Sounders new MP40PH-3C Locomotives that have a different paint scheme and striping.


I then have a complicated walk through the parking garages of Tacoma Dome Station to get to the bus stop where I wait a good 10 minutes for the next 590 bus. I take a nap (I’ve been up since basically midnight Pacific Time) as we head up head 5. I end up getting off at Sodo(7 Photos) and decide to get back on the light rail for the rest of trip into downtown to University Street(2 Photos) and walk back to the City Hostel Seattle where I’m staying, and run into someone I went to college with that is one of the managers.